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YOUR LIFE; We're so desperate to see our son's boys.

QMY son is an absentee father, but has been paying the CSA for his twin sons since they were born last October.

He has never seen his children as their mother refuses to allow it. Paying maintenance does not give him any right to access.

If he wants to see his own children he will have to go to court - but the Catch 22 is that he cannot afford both maintenance AND lawyers' fees and so he is denied any opportunity to be a proper father.

I know even criminals in jail, or who are on drugs, are allowed to see their children, but my son who has done nothing and is as good as he is honest, is forbidden that right.

I am also being selfish, I suppose, because my husband and myself have never seen our grandchildren and we are heartbroken.

Could anyone tell us what we can do to find an answer and help us to get to know our own flesh and blood?

AIT is invariably much healthier emotionally and for the good of their overall development if children are brought up knowing not only both their two loving parents, but also their mother and father's extended families.

On the whole, the more loving relatives kids have and with whom they are in contact the better - so I cannot and will not condone the way in which your son's ex is preventing your grandchildren from forming any relationship at all with their dad and with you.

What is the point of society in general, and politicians in particular, railing against those men who dump their families, when a man who very obviously wants to do his duty finds his efforts sabotaged by this mother's wilful refusal to allow him to play any part at all in his childrens' lives?

What did or didn't go on between your son and his girlfriend when they were a couple is largely irrelevant and should certainly not be used to deprive two small boys of their father's love.

It isn't fair on anyone, least of all them, who never asked to be born to two warring parents.

Of course, every story has more than one side to it. You naturally only know your son as a loving son, you don't know what kind of a partner he made.

Which means I am sure your son's former girlfriend has her reasons for this refusal to co-operate.

However, unless your son has a history of violence or something in his background which might make him an unfit father, I still do not think it is right for her to act in this seemingly selfish and unreasonable way.

Having said all that, negotiation and patience might get you further than the law - although that should not be indefinitely ruled out.

If only because, sadly, there have been cases of parents denied access to their children by the courts, not because of anything which they had done wrong, but solely on the grounds that they and their kids had become strangers to each other and it was deemed too disruptive to the children for them be forced to meet a mother or father they had either forgotten or never known.

Remember, the basis of everything underlining these issues is what is considered to be in the children's best interest - not your son's, not yours, but equally not their mother's either.

Anyway, the longer this impasse drags on the worse it will become. Something has to be done to get things moving and someone has to act as a referee.

Fortunately, the Family Mediation service was set up to fulfil exactly this need. They will do their best to effect some sort of an agreement on access with the children's mother which will allow both you and your son to see the boys.

It will not be easy. These cases where there is bitterness on all sides are never resolved without some give and take on everyone's part. But you should at least attempt some sort of conciliation with your grandchildren's mother.

Phone 0131 220 1610 or write to Family Mediation, 127 Rose Street South Lane, Edinburgh.

Of course, if they should fail, then you and your husband and son have the right to raise an action yourselves in the courts to allow you access to the boys.

But of course, as you already know, unless you are eligible for legal aid, lawyers do not come cheap. However, with any luck and just a little more goodwill, as well as common-sense, from the boys' mother, it might not come to that.Too many fathers left out in the cold

YOUR VERDICT

THIS letter illustrates to you what many of us have been thinking for a very long time - that fathers simply don't have the same rights as mothers.

Can you imagine the outcry if men habitually kidnapped their kids and prevented their mothers from ever seeing them again?

But that is what happens over and over again in this country - frequently with the full agreement of the law. There is very little justice for men at all these days.

We are the one section of society who can be discriminated against without anyone raising a finger to help. - Jim L. Young, UK Men's Movement, Motherwell.

I WONDER what this man did to this woman? I know his mum sees him as some sort of saint, but I was raped by a man I knew and thought I could trust.

I ended up pregnant and because of my beliefs, I could not go through with an abortion although I was counselled to have one. I do not regret having my son.

He was the one good thing to come out of the whole terrible ordeal and why should he suffer for what his father did to me?

However, the thought of him being allowed anywhere near my beautiful, innocent baby makes me physically sick.

Fortunately, he is the last man who would want to admit he had a child to me, but if he did, I would fight him tooth and nail. - Anon, Edinburgh.

THIS is another mess from the CSA. They are determined to grind men down and to make matters worse between fathers and their children.

I have three kids that I love very much. Their mother and I had a very amicable agreement which meant that I paid a certain sum every week and also bought them clothes when they needed them, paid for school trips, etc.

But this wasn't good enough for the CSA who have driven me to the brink of bankruptcy.

I live hundred of miles away from the children and I cannot now afford the petrol.

I am slowly losing touch with my kids while my ex still hassles me. - Name and address supplied, Perth.

I, TOO, have a baby and am on my own. I would give anything for her father to get to know her but he won't even admit he is her daddy.

I will have to get DNA tests to prove it which makes me feel so bad. He knows she is his, because he is the only man with whom I have ever had sex.

I don't understand the attitude of women who aren't grateful for all the help they can get from their baby's family. - Amanda K., Dundee.

YOUR PROBLEMS

QEVERYONE seems to have a much better sex life than I do. In the lunch break and at our tea breaks my workmates discuss what they and their partners and husbands get up to and it always sounds an awful lot more exciting than my own love life.

My boyfriend is Mr Reliable, but he's never been adventurous in that area. I got carried away one night and asked him how he'd feel if I begged him to tie me to the bed with my tights and his tie and make mad passionate love to me.

Do you know what he said? That he would empty a pail of cold water over me. Then, when I told him that one woman used to go out with her husband wearing nothing under her coat, not even underwear, he said that was sick.

I am not a pervert, but how do I get him to be a little more daring in the bedroom?

QYOU can't change people's natures. But I suppose you could take the initiative and instead of simply talking about things you would like, actually go ahead and do them. Actions, after all, speak louder than words.

However, if he still appears to be turned off or worse terrified by this new sexual assertiveness, then you will have to tone it down a bit.

On the other hand, he might be only too pleased, although I wouldn't bank on it. But at the end of the day only you can judge which matters more to you - a man on whom you can always rely, or one who thrills you, however temporarily, between the sheets.

QI AM leading a double life. During the day, I appear to be happily married heterosexual man, but at night, I enjoy going to on the gay scene. Perhaps this is wrong, but it is the only way I can cope in a homophobic world.

My wife thinks I am out seeing other women, but I have sworn to her that I will never leave her, which is really all that she cares about as she doesn't want to lose the financial security I provide.

But now she says she wants a child and I am not sure how I will be able to handle this situation.

Should I tell her the truth about me and see if she still wants to go ahead, not only with a baby, but with our relationship?

APERSONALLY, I think you should have told her the truth long ago. In fact, I don't think you should ever have married her or any woman in the first place. Because you never intended to be faithful and made your vows knowing it was all a total sham.

But now it's time for a little honesty, so you had better explain the true nature of your sexuality.

Then she can decide whether to stay or go and whether a baby, in the circumstances, would be sensible.

Most wives, I think, would decide to get out, but maybe she'll be willing to continue to provide you with your cover. You will have to let her decide and respect her decision.AND now for NEXT week's problem, which we want your help to solve. Please state whether you want your name and address withheld.I HAVE three children aged 12, 10 and eight. Two years ago, just after I went back to work and was enjoying being more than just a wife and mother, I discovered I was pregnant.

It was a bombshell to both me and my husband. We had been using contraception and were always very careful.

It didn't help that there were rumours of redundancies at his work. We sat down and decided that I should go for a termination, because we knew it was the right thing for our family as a whole. But before I could go through with the operation, I lost the baby naturally.

I was devastated, which I know is illogical, although my husband said it was for the best and the baby was never meant to be.

But since then, although I have tried and tried, I have no sexual feelings. I got sterilised after I lost the baby because I can't be in that position again.

But somehow, although I love my husband, I have to force myself to make love to him. There doesn't seem any point, although I know he is very hurt by my attitude.Next Saturday, I'll tell you what I think and

publish your advice as well.

Please write to me: Joan Burnie, Problem of the Week, Daily Record, Anderston Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA by Thursday, July 22, or e-mail j.burnie@daily record co.uk Please state if you want your name and address published.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Burne, Joan
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 17, 1999
Words:2023
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